Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Know Your Dreams

Thanks to the stars aligning with my remote control, after missing all of the DNC political speeches this week, catching only hideous hunks of the hours and hours of godawful commentary rehashing those speeches, I actually tuned into Obama's speech right when he was trying to settle the crowd. And got to listen to the whole, wonderful thing. That's the Obama I'm voting for. The future forward, restore the American Dream, attacking policy not person, hopeful yet forceful Obama.

This is a man with goals and a mission statement that he lives and breathes. The Freakonomics blog recently did a bit on "internal slogans" that helped guide employees to make the right choice. People think it's a little brown nosed, but I keep a list in my office of our general managers priorities because it helps make decisions clear. The thing I like about Obama over Mc&Bush is that mission statement they guide themselves and their groups by. A lot of people point out how Republicans win by slinging enough mud to drown Democrats who don't shovel enough of it back to get clear. Their mission statement, as I see it played out, is "we want power for ourselves and we will bury anyone who gets in our way". However with the mission statement of "Hope for America to be a moral, lawful beacon full of possibility again", the means are as important as the ends.

But the means have to win in order to get ends! Obama is the first guy I've seen in ages who sidesteps the mud (almost) entirely so he doesn't get trapped in it, thereby allowing him to keep moving forward with means that speak to his ends. Even tonight, when he came out swinging, he clearly delineated the difference between McCain as a person and vet and McCain's record as a senator holding the former up as admirable and the latter up as not. He's the first politician I've seen in ages who not only can but will do this.

Yet I've been worrying. He's been coming across a little off since he beat HRC. I'm fully inclined to blame the "talent" that jumped to his ship in the interim and offered advice that already failed for her and Kerry, even as I acknowledge his culpability in taking their lousy advice. Tonight, though, tonight he stood tall and proud and clearly said who he is and who he is not and why he's the better choice and he sounded again like the orator I feel for at the DNC 4 years ago. And I have hope in my heart for the rest of the election season.

And if you were an HRC supporter and are still waffley after her speech this week, please go read this I've been meaning to say it for a while, but they beat me to it. For that matter, so did she.

Be it Farenheit or Centigrade

I did figure out something about one sleep problem while my dad was here moving around early in the morning. I don't have night sweats, I just had my thermostat set wrong.

Night sweats are similar to hot flashes in that your body randomly gets hot and sweaty, just at night, and you wake up slimy. This has happened to me recently after a history of not having them. I was worried. It turns out I wasn't heating up internally, but with the increase in humidity this year, the condo stays hotter than it did last year, even overnight. I actually use the AC this year to keep the pantry goods from going rancid and to cool the place off at night. Unfortunately, I didn't pay a lot of attention to my thermostat settings, or I did and thought it would be ok to turn off the AC once I fell asleep.

Problem with that is that I sleep with a blanket. I don't sleep well without one, and god forbid you want me to sleep with no covers whatsoever. Whenever I get letters from Amnesty International asking for donations I think about that fact that being stuck in a hellhole prison would be miserable in many ways, but mostly I wouldn't have a blanket. This is how my brain prioritizes sleeping without a blanket on - worse than losing fingernails in filth. The trick with the blanket though, is that the room has to be cool enough that I don't sweat through it. When I let the AC turn off at 4am, I don't wake up, I just get really miserable sleep and wake up sweaty. Unless my dad is here puttering around, in which case I wake up, realize the place has heated up to 80F and I have at least one fixable problem.

I actually planned (I'm learning!) out what times to switch temps at and their setpoints before walking over to the box on the wall to input them and decided it was ok and not wasteful to cool the place off to 72 for the entire night. Maybe the AC kicking on at 11pm will even help me remember to go to bed. Well, not so far. But I have hopes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Stick Shifts and Safety Belts

There was not much blogging done while dad was here, partly because the "guest bed" obstructs computer access at prime blogging hours. This means I've saved up some topics. Let's see if we can make it through.

In my stack of stuff, I found a letter I wrote to President Bush after the last election. I'm not sure I ever signed and sent a copy as things did not improve. Maybe I'll post it later. I think it's still relevant.


My sleep is not going well. I need naps to recover from my naps. I have an appointment to follow up on the sleep study next week, I hope there's something that can be done. Soon.


I find the Mercenaries 2 video game ads entertaining. The juxtaposition of perky, happy, looking-forward-to-christmas-morning music on top of unbridled violent cartoons gives me joy.


After dad left, I read a couple of enjoyable books. They were Kresley Cole's (sidebar) latest in her immortal series which I'd gotten signed at RWA in San Fran. The previous one felt a little lean, but I rather liked these two. She has a world populated with multiple paranormal beings - mythic and things that go bump in the night. I worry a little that the sheer volume of stuff gets away from her, but each book seems to work on its own well enough. One way in which she's different from S. Kenyon is that her characters come from a more freely distributed time scale, and when she makes a rule she doesn't immediately break it. It's more that she leaves clues about what's possible then expedites it rather than going in a completely different direction.

The series isn't flawless. The degree of integration of previous characters is sometimes excellent, sometimes too much. The scenes are mostly 3rd limited point of view, and every so often someone not central to the story pops in. They are in on the plot, but I find it weird for them just to have a scene or two late in the book. The characters are headed toward their big quincentennial armaggedon like blowout with an unconcern I find a little odd. There's a lot of wiping out of this or that group merely for being, which is the polite way to say, and I really object to the concept. There's also a lot of weird alliances. I can't seem to figure out what marks one for death and how the HEA couples will keep their heads.

But all in all, there are engaging primary and secondary characters. The writing is fun, flirty, and sexy despite routine bloodbaths and beheadings. One character in particular pops up in intriguing places. She could be a really bad deus-ex-machina device, but mostly she's comic relief and generally fits. I love the extreme self confidence of the majority of characters we see. The heroines and heroes spend lots of time getting to know and love each other through the stories, they have to rely on friends and family and familiars, they have sometimes mythic fatal flaws they need to work around (ooh, shiny!), and do actually grow up after their previous periods of dormancy. Dark Needs at Nights Edge was particularly lush, fleshed out (so to speak) and full of growing independently and together and enjoyable. Recommended.


Lastly, my boss tried to kill me on saturday. Actually, she invited me to help carry the one-person sit-on kayaks to the shore as she is pregnant and trying not to lift heavy things and her husband, my college buddy, wanted to go kayaking. I'm guessing she wanted to go kayaking too, but the water was a little rougher than we anticipated; surfers were out en masse. So it wound up just being me and him and the open water. My boss was gave me a pep talk :) "You know how to swim! You have kayaked right? If you fall in try to hold onto the paddle, but naturally, if it's a choice between you and the paddle, lose the paddle." I have watched friends fail to paddle through surf like this so I was skeptical but having dragged that damn kayak over a huge swath of beach, I was going to try. But I was nervous.

Thankfully, these little kayaks plow into surf pretty well and we were able to find a chunk of beach where the waves approached from two directions and more often than not canceled each other out a little bit. My friend and I were able to plow through with fun and splashing and both made it through 3 or 4 breakers unscathed if a little salty. He said we were just going to go out and paddle around for a bit. We cleared the pier and breakwater in no time. I figured we'd just paddle back and forth for a bit, but no, it was much better. We aimed for a bouy a fair distance out.

I was pleased to discover that I could paddle straight and easily. I didn't get tired and there was no chafing. My friends' boats did have these two padded straps on either side to fix the knees inside for whitewater. I actually used them and felt more connected to the boat that way - yep, I want a seatbelt on my bike AND my boat. There were swells and areas of choppy water, but nothing threatening, so we paddled and paddled. We got near enough to see and hear a pack of seals sunning on the buoy, but not near enough to tempt them to play with us. We missed seeing a couple dolphins playing nearby and they scooted out to follow some jet-skis we couldn't miss.

The paddle back in was stranger. It wasn't as laid back and the boats kept going off target. The wind started to kick up at our backs, it was high tide, and the waves got bigger. We decided to head back to shore for lunch with my boss and their 2 yr old, who by this time had decided she was "done outside", but was willing to put on the swimsuit. Which is why my boss missed seeing both our total wipeouts. I made it to within a couple feet of shore and totally got rolled in the sand. I got sand in the everything. In my shirt, in my pants, in my sandals, in my hair, in my... everything. But other than a little bang on the foot, I remembered to grab the paddle, the boats washed to shore and we were fine.

After a bit of a nibble where I contemplated my death and decided it was unlikely as I was sitting on shore, we paddled back out through the waves and rode them back in a bit. I caught one that scooted me very fast toward shore and three little kids only to dump me out by way of braking and decided the shore was too crowded to kayak in through the swimmers and surfers without cracking someones noggin. But I am glad I went back through the surf at least once. It pushed me past my comfort zone but not so much I couldn't enjoy it. I don't know why, but open water swimming kind of freaks me out, but put a tiny piece of plastic under my butt and I have a great time.

Friday, August 22, 2008


My dad has been here all week to help me move forward on some home improvement projects. Sort of a last minute birthday present. What was a little surprising is how much work it took to prep for most of the projects so they could get done so I could finally get to the cupboards. It involved moving just about everything I own in the living and dining rooms, it felt like.

The major change was moving the 4X4 grid shelf from the dining room to the living room. When I moved in, I put it in the dining room because it fit the wall space. But it didn't fit the function, and I needed a big piece in the living room. I'm much happier now that it's moved as it leaves the dining room as the prep area for the kitchen. This is more sensible functionally and doesn't get in the way of daily activities so much. Also the pumpkins I've stashed on top of it can be seen by visitors.

Even with teflon skids, my dad thought it was best to remove most of the contents from behind the doors, and it did make it easier to scoot. But then I had to put all the papers back in. Since he'd taken them out in order, it wasn't so hard to do, but I did look through the stuff going back in. Most of it went fast. I tossed a couple items I was less than thrilled with that were coherent items. Then, I remembered the incoherent pile. It was a pile of papers I moved with and had no room for so I crammed it in the empty cube. Somehow it multiplied and needed 2 cubes to fit back in, so I had to suck it up and sort it.

One of the first things I found was something I was looking for last week, so I wound up giving the stack more attention than anyone on TV does when they do this task. The result was a list of things I think about intermittently as time allows. I came up with keepers and trash in most all categories, divided roughly as follows:
  • Science articles
  • Political opinions, letters to/from MA elected officials, and varied publications showing that yes, people really thought the PATRIOT act was a bad idea and gay marriage a good one.
  • Financial. Why I need monthly updates of 8 full pages for 1 account with 5 similar mututal funds that I bought once and let sit is beyond me. That was most of the trash.
  • Book related stuff: recommendations, early chapters, reviews, deleted scenes, and interesting travelogues by college friends who would probably now blog. (I should look them up.)
  • Fitness records and workout plans
  • Health records, including a scary printout of my weight history since 1996.
  • Puzzles
  • Souveniers like wedding invites, holiday cards, tickets, pictures, and a list what my hamster Leroy liked to eat during his short life.
  • Maps
  • Other "continuing ed" articles in feminism, sustainability and economics.
Stuff that was just trash included catalogues of gift ideas, weekend papers showing what's going on in Boston in 2005, directions to parties where people no longer live, already reimbursed health expenses, ATM and other receipts like the receipt for Leroy's healthier $9.99 replacement, Pinky, and did I mention overzealous financial updates?

After reading that list and seeing both my place and my desk, you might guess that dealing with paper is one of the hardest things I do every day. So I try not to deal with it every day. The book "Taming the Paper Tiger" was a lot of help. Then my friend J helped a lot in setting up a filing system that still kinda works, but needs a serious purging. Having a bookkeeper is also great for this stuff. But every time I get stuff cleaned off, more crap comes in. And it's not possible to just not bring it in, although I do try - most of the mail goes directly to the recycling after I pull out the 3 coupons I actually use and the 6 I always intend to.

Thanks again to dad for helping scoot stuff around, build things, patch things, and hang things. It really does go better with 2 people, although I was still pretty good at finding other stuff to do instead.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Birthday Laundry

I had a nice relaxed birthday today. I slept in, baked a cake, then a friend came over, we had cake and tasty beverage, then hung out in the pool for a while - me in the sun, her in the shade as she has that skin that doesn't tan - then went out for BBQ. Nice, relaxing, fun day. Somewhat like the last time I had BBQ on my birthday when I got stranded for 9 hours by the airline in Memphis, only this time I had a friend with me.

Well, except that I also needed to do laundry. Since I got the condo with in-unit laundry machines, though, it really hasn't been a big deal for me. After waiting 30 minutes at the bank for a roll of quarters, I gave up on the basement laundry requiring 4 flights of stairs and 10 quarters/load. I used to either wash it at my friends' houses or take it to the wash-dry-fold that had a 10 pound/load minimum. So I would save up about 40 pounds, sort it into 3 loads, rig a handle for the bags, carry the lot down 3.5 flights of stairs and outside to my car. Then I'd drop it off before work and pick it up after, folded and somehow slightly lighter, but not as light at the top of 3.5 flights of stairs. Now I can dump in a load before bed and put it in the dryer in the morning. Wonderful stuff. I even snuck in my mattress pad.

Funny thing about the mattress pad though - it doesn't fit my mattress. Can aerobeds stretch? Because I can no longer fit queen sheets on it, nor do the mattress pads that came with the beds fit either. When I decided to celebrate some extra money this year by buying high thread count sheets, I had to return them and buy cal-kings in order for them to fit. I also found out that high thread count = slippery. The aerobed also seems higher than usual. When I realized my hips were hurting, I figured out it was due to hauling myself into bed with my knee. Then I put the slippery sheets on and the hauling turned into face planting with indifferent success in mounting. Now I just get a running start and vault into bed and it works better. I do think I need to ask aerobed why my queen mattress is higher than the pillowtop version I used to have no problems getting into and doesn't fit the sheets before it becomes the blob that devours my bedroom. After I figure out a way to get the mattress pad to cover it at least a little.

So I'm off to reassemble my bed while watching the olympics. You might wonder why I'm watching so much olympics when the coverage drives me batty. Well, my cable hasn't been working properly for a few weeks. I got back from SanFran and it wasn't working at all. So I got a new box and had the same pixilation and lack of channel decoding with that. So I got another box and it still doesn't work. I called again today and they're sending someone on tuesday to check the incoming signal. Why they can't figure that out remotely by talking to the box, I don't know. My guess is they'll fix the TV and break the modem.

When I plug my TV directly into the wall, I get better reception. But the channels are limited and wacky. I get NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, Bravo, latino MTV, HSN - in chinese!, the local access station, some televangelist channel with a perpetual 1-800 number in the lower left, and golf. This sounds better than it is. The major channels suck out loud for the vast majority of programming, I don't want to buy as-seen-on-TV fermented noodles, there's only so much golf I can take with my goal of not sleeping on the couch, PBS is hit or miss, local access is often just a page of text (although I did watch some interview of a local photography professor who used to hang with Ansel Adams talking about that experience). I've also seen some "Cribs" but it's not the same as watching home decorating shows. And I miss Jon Stewart's take on things. Thank goodness for Kathy Griffin and her foul mouthed, troup-entertaining jaunts around the world.

Yeah, I've been surfing the web while watching TV more than I've been working on the cabinets, but that's ok because my dad's showing up tomorrow to stay the week and help out. If he'd scheduled this a little before last tuesday, I might have been able to arrange for some time off to help... as it is, my boss was on vacation and unable to authorize any such thing. Our family's planning skills in action. Oh well, I probably wouldn't have been able to handle the anticipation anyway. As long as he doesn't mind sleeping on a pile of boxes or some misfit pumpkins it should go ok.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just Saying

It's been a while since I've posted a happy fun blog entry, the purported basis for this whole endeavor. Although I was thinking about it today and came up with several other reasons why I blog:
  • Recording happy events so I can practice seeing the good in daily events so I can look back and hope the happy glass is more than half full.
  • Keeping my friends updated on what I'm doing since I suck at calling on the phone and I prefer mass emails for events of import.
  • Time-date stamped journal - the bane of my handwritten memoirs was always forgetting to add a date, or collating them in one spot, or not being able to scrawl fast enough, or having to add references without hyperlinks.
  • Getting wacky ideas out of my head so they either (a) take a coherent form that I can edit to my satisfaction and share or (b) so they can leave me space in the brainpan for for things that matter more and/or (c) I can stop thinking about them and get to sleep.
  • Discussion about topics that matter to me. Or frivilous things.
  • Seeing if I can get blog readers from the 6 major continents (Yes! Thanks, clustrmap!) although I'd really like to know if any of the small dot browsers (1-9 hits) only came once by mistake, once purposefully, or checked in a couple of times and gave up. And how they got here.
  • Practicing writing on topic. Or giving up and piecing together completely tangential thoughts.
It turns out that I'm mostly still getting what I want out of this and plan to keep blogging. I have noticed the comments have dried up a lot but this could be because a lot of the blogs I used to like have bit the dust, so those bloggers aren't hanging here as much. Or because its summer and people are off doing interesting things. Or because people keep having kids and those little suckers seem to really cut into internet time.

I mention the "why I blog" list because I was just reading the comments over at Jennifer Crusie's Argh Ink in response to her thought that it might be a good idea to quit blogging. And I thought, "NNNNOOOOOOOOOooooooohhhhhhh!" Then, "Oh noes!" I just switched my sidebar link to hit the blog directly instead of routing through the main page! Why is everyone jumping off the blogwagon?

In her comments, I found some phrases that made me smile. And sometimes that made me think of other things too.
  • Awesomeness with Awesome sauce! made me think of friendly McFriendster M back in Boston.
  • Michael Phelps Even with the schmaltzy pandering coverage, it is a thing of beauty to watch him swim, and his relay mates are nothing to sneeze at either.
  • May-Walsh beach volleyball If you want to see how it's done, watch them. I do wonder why the women are wearing rubberbands when the men are in gunny sacks. Anyone good at beach volleyball should look good enough to wear a rubber band, and I'd like me some fair trade skins.
  • Mens Gymnastics The USA team musta had superglue for dinner because they stuck more landings than I've seen in a month of sundays. Or a lifetimes of olympics. Rock solid they were, and a joy to watch because of it.
  • Probably When I first started reading Janet Evanovich's books, starting a sentence with "probably" without the use of "because" or another conjunction struck my funnybone as very Jersey. Now I see it a lot though, and even do it myself sometimes. Such as, "He was in the military. Probably his sock drawer has structure."
  • tart This is such an excellent word. It sounds punchy, and, well, tart. It recalls the 404 page with "it was tart and tasty on my tongue". Used as a female pejorative, it rather makes me giggle. One can eat a cherry tart.
  • Just Saying One of my favorites of recent slang. Meaning roughly, ignore at your peril, or please consider, or...
So I'd love to hear from readers, even if you're shy (anonymous posts are allowed but you have to play the word game) about why you keep reading my blog especially if it's not a reason I listed for writing it. And what made you grin like a fool today. Don't make me come rough you up to get some comments going. Just saying.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Olympics Rudeness from NBC

I finally figured out the word I was looking for when I watched NBC olympics coverage sign out with Natlie Coughlin's backstroke medal ceremony - RUDE. It was as if she was the only one who did anything worth watching. Yeah, she's actually cute. But there were 3, count 'em THREE, medal winners. We only saw two. The bronze medalist, Margaret Hoelzer, is actually an American too. So she got about 1 freaking stanza of coverage - combining the far shot with the closeup. Then back to Natalie. It was only at the very end, after the music was done and they huddled for the group photo that I even got a glimpse of Kirsty Coventry, and then only for as long as it took the photographer to cut her out of the picture. To me, that is unbelievable rudeness.

This coverage is probably shown the world over, and is captured on the internet as well. Does it show unity and team spirit? Does it show all the pride or damn-I-almost-made-gold expressions on all the medalists faces? No. It shows that America only cares about gold, and only cares about ourselves and to hell with the rest of the world that exists only to mess up our closeups. I'm so appalled that there could be "coverage" of an event that deliberately excludes one of the 3 winners and only offers a token nod to the other that I almost can't find words.

Almost, but not quite. Remember in Monster's Inc. when the Scully and the little one-eyed green dude make the magazine cover and the little dude is covered by the barcode? That was poor Hoelzer, who worked her whole life, just as hard as Kirsty and Natalie to make that medals stand at the olympics. Kirsty was the part of the photo that got cropped. And these medalists have family and friends and countrymen who supported them and cheered them on and want to see their brief moment of glory.

Although it's probably telling that the olympic motto isn't even on your olympics coverage homepage, but buried in a tiny sidebar link. Please, NBC, behave with dignity, kindness, and a spirit of "One World, One Dream". I'll lay off about you showing more divers showering than diving if you do me the courtesy of showing me all the medalists when you shoot a medal ceremony. Since you don't seem to have a good grasp of this, despite a 4 year prep period, this means all 3 for most of the ceremony, brief close ups of all 3 (maybe 2X closeups of fan favorites), then closing with all three in view. To do less is a disservice to both the American and the olympic spirit.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Good Grief

Don't even get me started on my company's new paid time off policy - they've substituted sick time for vacation time. Since one of my criteria for picking a job was 3 weeks vacation (not including sick time) I'm more than a little bit pissed about losing our vacation time to wellness time. And they say they want us to take it, but don't want us to link it to vacation, so it means we kinda have to take it last minute. So I did.

I didn't sleep well last night, despite or because of drifting in and out of consciousness all afternoon. And my throat was feeling rough. I called in this morning to take a "wellness" day. And it was a good day to do it. I slept until noon, despite the alarm going off from 7-8, then at 10 and at 11 when I finally turned it off. Then I got up, regrouped as my brain felt soupy, showered and dressed and walked to lunch. Then I walked to the allergist, then to the massage at the chiropractor. I did miss a baby shower at work in case I really was getting sick. (I'd picked up a onsie from Scharfenberger in SanFran for baby of the chocoholic mom.)

At any rate, I figured I needed either sleep or exercise and got both. With some sun to boot. And I was feeling a lot better. Until I had my serving of watermelon. I'm allergic to cantaloupe and have been since I was small despite my parents trying to get me to eat it because it's one of the most nutritive foods out there. I don't care because it burns all the way down. But I've always been able to eat watermelon - it's slightly less related to ragweed than cantaloupe is. (And don't give me details about how american cantaloupe is really muskmelon or summat. Common vernacular is cantaloupe and I'm allergic to both.) However, the point is: I was feeling much better today until I came home and had a slab of watermelon.

Now, I'm feeling foggy, my skin is itchy and hot like I've had too much MSG, and I've had to pee about 18 times. Yes, watermelon is a diuretic, but that's crazy. So I'm not sure if it's because I got dosed with allergens today or if it's just this particular seedless red melon. (I've been eating yellow with seeds until this week and prefer the seeded ones. If I get seedless it's usually a mistake.) I wonder if the melon is why I didn't feel good this weekend. If so, it's good that I figured it out. But it looks like I need to go off the sauce for a while. Still this is annoying because watermelon is one of my favorite things. Or it is if it doesn't hurt me. At least there are still raspberries and cherries.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Somehow in the last few years it has come to my attention that the number 8 is lucky in chinese. I forget why but I think it has to do with the word for 8 sounding like a positive word so there is a connotation that 8 is also positive. I remember reading years ago about astronomical sums people in Hong Kong would pay for license plates and phone numbers with lots of 8s in them. I remember reading months ago that the olympics was to start on 8 8 8 at 8:08. I just watched the 2008 drummers start up the opening ceremony.

Fireworks started in China and unlike some other things, they've done a great job of keeping at the forefront of the technology. They also have a positive genius for coordinating masses of people and things.

The announcers mentioned that the drummers were smiling so they wouldn't look so intimidating. While it was very impressive, I didn't get intimidation from the performance so much as a sense that these are folk with a different way of looking at the world. Why build some fancy automated machinery to do menial tasks when you have a billion people at your disposal to do them? Or do both. At one time it's very empowering to be a part of a group that large, but being one of many can also make you feel invisible. Like staring into the sky and knowing there are more stars than you can conceive of or watching the surf of the ocean and realizing the tides were there before you and will be there after you. Some days this is a comfort; other days it's enough to send a jolt of panic to the heart. I think the Chinese do better than most at embracing one's minor role in the face of abundance. On one hand the details matter to an excessive degree, on the other you're still just one of many. The queen is dead; long live the queen.

Being someone who has trouble getting more than 5 people to the same party even with the promise of free beer, it's hard for me to imagine coordinating 8 people let alone 2008 or god forbid 20,008. Pagentry on this scale is awe inspiring to me. While it could be considered wasteful - remember how much flak they got for The Gates in NYC ?- I don't categorize it as such. Probably the most powerful thing I learned by minoring in Anthropology/Archaeology was how visceral is the human need for celebration and pagentry to help mark time, cement friendships, and display power. Our brains notice difference and make special note of it. The occasional change from the every day that we mark as special helps us locate ourselves in time and space.

Things done on a grand scale often require innovation above and beyond the norm, so often grand gestures can have positive fallout that can change the world. Would we have personal computers, and thus blogs, if it weren't for the race to the moon? Maybe, maybe not, but certainly not with the same urgency. There's some sense when people discuss evolution of people or technology that it happens at a steady pace. Personally, I think things stay the same with minor modifications and improvements for long stretches of time, then there occur bursts of change that throw us off track, for better or worse, but causing a sea change in the fundamental nature of things all at once before resettling into a new norm.

One thing that's freaking me out though, is that in all of the massing of people - they're all men. In the people representing the 57 cultures, the signing, and the dancer (who just looked great on the flimsiest floor in the world), there were women but everyone else appears to be male. And I don't think the drummers were all cross trained to lift type boxes or giant oars. The scope and scale of this is almost unimaginable. The announcers who have been helping interpret the symbolism just confirmed that no performers repeat. One costume each. "Well, we have the people." the organizer said. Yeah, but they're all boys. Those drummer costumes had room for breasts, why not a mixed crowd? In an era of one child, can't the girls get some equal access to making the family proud? Well, here come some ladies in ballgowns and face paint. Hrm. The dudes get the pedestals. But a 9 year old girl gets to fly a kite over a sea of green men. The tai chi master is a woman, the school kids are mxed, but it looks like all the tai chi disciples are men. I have no idea what to make of that.

Still and all, its stunning stuff. They have both fire and water emerging at the upper reaches of the birds nest stadium. I honestly don't think you could get this many Americans to do this. Some, yes, but based on my time in a drill team, we independent folk couldn't run full tilt into a circle of dancers without catastrophe or at least breaking rank in display after display. These are people with a great awareness of themselves in relation to their neighbor. It's impressive enough that I'd buy an imported Chinese bootleg copy to watch again later.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Poster Boy

If you want to know why I don't really want to date engineers, just watch My Life on the D-List. Specifically the episode where Kathy Griffin bitches about billionares dating at Bob's Big Boy, and Woz completely overtakes the conversation at the, ahem, other diner they go to. Please tell me I'm usually better than that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Clenched Up

I'm back from meeting up with friends in San Fransisco and am downloading pictures so I can write up a nice blog. I also have plans to review ITF a bit. But those are big things and right now I'm just dealing with daily life. Which is ok, but I've been tired. And sore. And being sore interferes with my sleep which makes me tired. It's a place I've been in before, but I'm using different tools on it now.

One of these tools is massage. I've been trying for years to find someone who can give me a theraputic massage, Rolfing style, without being a hardcore true believer and my new masseuse fits the bill. I doubled up today for the first time, going for an hour, and she hit every painful thing in my body. My neck and shoulders are feeling better after her ministrations, but my feet still hurt 3 years after the fasciitis made its debut, and almost 2 years after I figured out that orthotics really do help and actively started treating it. My feet probably still hurt because having my leg tendons, which connect to my feet, poked at made me lever up off the table. And I still have to be able to tolerate her poking at my hernia scar ridge. But mostly, I think it's the tendons.

As near as I can tell, every tendon I own is tight as a tick. The tendons in my legs are tight and painful. The tendons in my feet are tight and painful. The tendons in my neck are tight and painful. The tendons in my shoulders are tight and painful. The tendons in my wrists and hands are tight and painful. I have a feeling that if I can change my body chemistry somehow to relax the tendons, a lot of my current issues will recede. Especially since I'm "perfectly" healthy but for a deformed aorta and an inability to sleep restfully or walk barefoot.

I might also wind up with a CPAP except I get apnea when sleeping on my back and I don't usually sleep on my back, so it may or may not be useful. If anyone out there knows how to combat "Alpha-Delta" sleep so it goes away and I get regular sleep, sing out. Don't worry if it's not good enough for anyone else to hear; I'm looking for any nutjob idea that I can try out. I've tried out most of the non-nutjob ideas with varying degrees of failure so I'm past being picky.

Or if there's a magic superhero potion that would turn me into Stretch Armstrong, that would work too. I bought a ring in San Fran that seemed to be modeled after S-man's Fortress of Solitude, but so far it has conveyed no magical powers.

And still, there are good things happening.
  • Trader Joes sells a fantastic house brand French Vanilla ice cream that goes great with the frozen black raspberries they also sell.
  • I got to see my former college roommate in San Fran after she'd dropped off the grid for a while. And she still swears like a sailor.
  • The date was actually anxious to see me when I got back.
  • I was able to use some expertise (in PROMIS, shudder) to help train some people at work so they could function better at their jobs.
  • There is a giant otter statue in Fergus Falls, MN. One of my best friends as a child had grandparents from FF, and I remember arguing with her that "pertner" wasn't really a word. These days, I'd still argue that a contraction of "pretty near" still sounds off, but I wouldn't forbid her from using it. Like "She pertner did a back walkover until her hand slipped on the grass." We used to do gymnastics on the lawn together. She never told me about the otter.

concrete otter sculpture posted at cuteoverload